Just 20 years ago, anyone who was into an organic lifestyle was likely to be considered a little odd. Organic choices were limited back then; nowadays they’re everywhere. Now that being “green” is a trend, even major chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target are carrying organic food and bedding.
But what does it mean to truly be organic? The roots of the organic movement stemmed from the early 1900s, when synthetic fertilizers were introduced in the early days of industrial farming. Even after WWI, with more pressure being applied to farmers to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides for a larger yield, ecological farmers, though a minority, stood firm in their beliefs. Pioneers like Rachel Carson helped shed light on the dangers of these newly introduced chemicals. By the 70s and 80s, certification standards for organic food came into effect, thanks to various farming and consumer groups demanding more government regulation.
With organic certification, consumers should feel confident that the goods they desire are truly organic. However, there is an absence of government regulation in the production of non-food items. With the sprawling popularity of organic finished goods, many large corporations are cashing into the “green” market by using some organic materials, yet compromising purity to achieve a lower price.
In a competitive marketplace where businesses want your money, it can be tough to read between the lines. If you look in the right direction, however, the writing is on the wall: Without government regulation, consumers must rely on third-party scrutiny to assure that finished goods, not just raw materials, are truly organic. Certifying organizations such as Oregon Tilth (OTCO) guarantee that products meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and other regulations to ensure that you are getting a truly organic product.
It’s the only type of assurance that actually means anything. And at Lifekind®, it’s all we do.
Rowena, Product Specialist
We think it’s important to support American organic farmers and manufacturers – so we do! Lifekind® is dedicated to supporting America’s organics industry and to keeping jobs here in America.
We make our own mattresses right here in the U.S. Our GOTS-certified mattress Eco-Factory™ is located in Yuba City, California – the only mattress facility in North America to be awarded true third-party organic certification.
Our organic raw materials come from sources as close to home as possible. The Naturally Safer® wool and certified organic cotton we use in our mattresses and bedding are U.S. grown, and the natural rubber latex we use in our mattress cores and pillows is also manufactured here in the U.S.
Your commitment to purchasing organic products and supporting America’s environmentally-conscious farmers and businesses helps to ensure the continuing growth of the organics industry in the U.S. Also, you contribute to the reduction of your carbon footprint when you buy products made closer to home.
We are proud to support American organic farmers and to be your “go-to” company for “Made in the USA” items.
Carol Bader, Co-Founder
While on the phone with customers, occasionally we’ll hear a comment such as “Lifekind — that’s a nice name. What does it mean?” We explain that our name refers to the necessity we feel to be kind to all life in the work we do, the products we offer, and the way in which the materials in those products are obtained. We explain that in part it’s a spin on the word “mankind,” offering a larger, more compassionate and all-inclusive meaning.
When I think about our name, the first thing that comes to mind is the Northern California wool we use in our mattresses, pillow tops, and other products. It comes from sheep that graze freely on organic pastureland and are sheared using methods that minimize anxiety and discomfort. No traumatic “sheep dipping” takes place, and sheep dogs are used to keep predators away, rather than deadly poisons.
It’s a total commitment to ethical ranching that we feel passionate about. If it’s important to you, too, you’ve come to the right place.
The other day I heard a colleague say something that made me think. She was talking with a customer and describing today’s “chemical” mattress market as being a lot like the tobacco industry of the fifties. People were told back then that cigarettes weren’t bad for them, the same way today’s consumers are told that chemical flame retardants and formaldehyde-containing memory foam in mattresses aren’t just safe, but can even be good for them — and it worked like a charm. Skyrocketing cancer rates were the result.
Growing up in the seventies, with the Surgeon General’s warning on every cigarette pack, I wondered how Americans of my parents’ generation could have been so naive. How could they not have known that smoking was dangerous? Sure, cigarette ads featured endorsements from beloved movie stars, cartoon characters, even the family physician (“More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand!”), but average people must have known intuitively that something was wrong. Right?
I’m guessing that Americans back then, like us, wanted to believe that something they enjoyed was safe, and that the government would tell them if it wasn’t. Yesterday’s cigarette ads featuring leading physicians have become today’s two-page layouts for memory-foam mattresses in environmental magazines, targeting a health-oriented clientele that would run in the opposite direction if they knew what memory foam was actually made of.
Hazardous chemicals are a part of almost everything we use, including our mattresses, and cancer rates have never been higher. Could there be a connection? Many consumers don’t want to think so.
After all, the government would tell us if it were dangerous. Right?
(To see test results showing over 60 volatile chemicals emitting from a memory-foam mattress, see Walt Bader’s book Toxic Bedrooms: Your Guide to a Safe Night’s Sleep.)
Sylvia, Sales Supervisor
Growing up in the city, life was always fast paced. Consumption is a way of life. Life is not all that sustainable.
After my first camping experience in high school, life took on a different meaning. Nature has a perfect balance that cannot be recreated. It renews the mind and invigorates the spirit.
Over the years, I have realized that while voting in our democratic system is one way to make your voice heard, it is undeniable that we also vote with our dollars. Every purchase we make, in a way, defines who we are and what we stand for.
Regardless of where you live, life can be sustainable. Supporting organic agriculture and buying domestically-made goods made from renewable resources supports “the little guy” instead of the multimillion-dollar corporation that in exchange fuels the fire of non-sustainable living.
The earth is one big eco-system and our everyday choices WILL impact the planet one way or another.
How do you vote?
Rowena, Product Specialist
I’ve been thinking lately about the differences between the ways our great grandparents lived compared to how we live now. My great-grandmother used to take salt baths and rubbed oils on her hands to make them smooth. She used vinegar as hair conditioner and as a softener for clothing in the washing machine. She bought all of these ingredients at the local market. My grandparents even had a horsehair mattress that was made by a merchant in town.
Why is it so common in this day and age that we go shopping for other countries’ products when ours are time tested and proven to be effective? I say, when your health and well-being are involved, support American workers and buy U.S. manufactured mattresses. I know my great grandparents would have never imagined there was any other option.
If you aren’t supporting your neighbors, then who will be there for you when you need it?
Sara, Product Specialist